Notes: Gutierrez arrives on hot streak

Notes: Gutierrez arrives on hot streak

BALTIMORE -- Franklin Gutierrez rejoined the Indians on Sunday at Camden Yards a more patient hitter after serving as the Buffalo Bisons' leadoff hitter.

Whether Gutierrez can carry over a .377 average with two homers and 10 RBIs in spot duty remains to be seen, but manager Eric Wedge insists he'll find opportunities for Gutierrez's bat in the Cleveland lineup.

"We'll utilize him," Wedge said. "He basically balanced out our position players in terms of lefties and righties. ... We'll pick spots with Trot [Nixon] and [David] Dellucci. We know we're going to have [Jason] Michaels in there against left-handers, and we'll pick spots for Franklin."

Gutierrez was recalled from Buffalo after Saturday's game, with left-hander Rafael Perez returning to Triple-A in a corresponding move.

"It's a new opportunity for me," said Gutierrez, who hit .272 with a homer and eight RBIs in 43 games with the Indians last season. "I was doing my job in Triple-A and that's what they wanted. It's why I got called up."

Gutierrez wasn't upset that the Indians bypassed him earlier in the week when they summoned outfielder Ben Francisco from Buffalo for a two-day stay. Gutierrez was more focused on making sure he was fully recovered from a sore left hamstring.

"I had to take care of my leg," he said.

The right-handed hitter has prospered at the top of the Buffalo lineup, something Wedge hopes translates into Major League success.

"He's been very consistent. He's been very consistent with his routine. He's been very consistent with his approach to his play. He's seeing pitches and using the entire field," Wedge said. "I think a leadoff hitter's going to tend to see more pitches and tend to work hard to get on base. I think it can help him. I think it probably has with him."

The new challenge for Gutierrez will be to formulate a plan to continue that pattern despite sporadic playing time.

"When you come up here and you don't know if you're going to play every day or not, you just have to do your best whenever they give you the opportunity," he said. "I didn't do anything different this year than last year. I was just swinging and making contact. When you're doing good at bat, you don't think too much. You're just going up there and hitting. You see the ball, you swing the bat. It's different when you're doing bad. You have to try to figure out what you're doing wrong."

Carmona on deck: Right-hander Fausto Carmona will fly to Baltimore to meet the Indians on Sunday, then pitch in the finale of the four-game series at Camden Yards on Monday.

Carmona was sent to Triple-A last Monday, a day after he came within two outs of a complete-game shutout of the Orioles. He was the winner in a 6-1 victory.

Wedge isn't worried about a young pitcher having to face the same club twice in eight days. He prefers to think Carmona's recent success against Baltimore is his advantage.

"I think it depends on the team and the individual," Wedge said. "I think it can go either way."

When Carmona is activated, right-hander Jake Westbrook will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strain of the internal left oblique muscle.

Kamikaze concerns? Wedge was asked Sunday if he worries that center fielder Grady Sizemore's aggressive style of play -- diving for balls, crashing into walls -- will be a detriment to his burgeoning career.

"He has his bumps and bruises," Wedge said of Sizemore. "I resigned myself a long time ago that that's the way he plays. No sense worrying about it."

About the only thing Wedge can do is pick Sizemore's spots for an occasional respite. Saturday night was one of them -- Michaels pinch-hit for Sizemore in the eighth inning of an 8-2 loss and replaced him in the outfield for an inning.

And the question is: The Indians currently have two players, pitcher Adam Miller and third baseman Andy Marte, on the disabled list. How many players made trips to the DL last season?

Tribe tidbits: Because of a conflict with a Cavaliers playoff game, Sunday's contest was heard on WMMS-FM (100.7). More Indians games could be moved, depending on the remainder of the playoff schedule. ... Entering Sunday's play, the Indians had homered in 22 of 27 games this season. ... Entering Sunday's game, Cleveland hitters were an aggregate 0-for-12 lifetime against Orioles left-handed starter Brian Burres, and had struck out six times.

Down on the farm: Buffalo scored nine runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 15-14 victory over Pawtucket on Saturday in the completion of a suspended game from April 23. The Bisons had 17 hits but no homers. Catcher Mike Rose doubled three times and had five RBIs. Sean Smith and Bubbie Buzachero combined on a seven-hit shutout in the regularly scheduled game. ... First baseman Jordan Brown homered and drove in three runs in Double-A Akron's 6-2 triumph at Altoona.

And the answer is: Cleveland used the disabled list only seven times last year, losing 274 man-days. The Indians were the only Major League team to end the season without a player on the DL.

Coming up: Right-hander Carmona (2-1, 3.76 ERA) takes the turn of the injured Westbrook in the finale of the four-game series at Camden Yards, a 12:35 p.m. ET matinee. Right-hander Steve Trachsel (1-3, 4.08 ERA) gets the call for Baltimore.

Pete Kerzel is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.